Quantcast
Latest Stories

Court of Appeals ruling may let Reyes brothers walk

By

The Court of Appeals (CA) has invalidated the panel that Justice Secretary Leila de Lima had formed to reinvestigate the January 2011 murder in Palawan of environmentalist and radio commentator Dr. Gerry Ortega, raising the possibility the murder charges and arrest warrants against former Palawan Gov. Joel Reyes and his brother may eventually be quashed.

The CA’s special Fifth Decision said De Lima had committed grave abuse of discretion when she formed a second panel to look into the Ortega murder case instead of carrying out her duty to review the resolution of the first panel she had created and which had ruled that there was no probable cause to indict Reyes and his brother, former Coron Mayor Mario Reyes, for Ortega’s murder.

“It behooves the Secretary of Justice to adhere to the rules of procedure the Department of Justice promulgated for an orderly and effective administration of justice, otherwise the vast power of the Secretary of Justice would be susceptible of abuse. Scary!!” read the decision penned by Associate Justice Leoncia Real-Dimagiba.

De Lima on Tuesday said she had not yet read the decision but would ask the Solicitor General to prepare a motion for reconsideration.

De Lima initially formed a panel of prosecutors to investigate the Ortega killing in early 2011 through Department Order No. 091. The panel found probable cause against four persons and dismissed the complaints against six others, including the Reyes brothers.

Claiming to have new evidence, Ortega’s wife sought to have the investigation reopened, filing several petitions with the first panel.

On Sept. 7, 2011, De Lima issued a new department order creating a new prosecution panel to reinvestigate the Ortega case.

Finding of probable cause

The new panel found probable cause to indict the Reyes brothers, which resulted in the issuance of arrest warrants against them in March by the Puerto Princesa Regional Trial Court.

Mario Reyes then went to the appellate court to question De Lima’s creation of a second investigative panel.

In its decision, the appellate CA said De Lima was well within her powers to “review, modify, alter or nullify” the decision of the first investigative panel without conducting another investigation.

It noted that De Lima had to this day not acted on the motion for review ad cautelam (as a precaution) that Ortega’s wife had filed and which “was ripe for resolution.”

In creating a second panel to investigate the case, the appellate court said De Lima “blatantly disregarded” Rule 112 of the Rules of Court and the 2000 National Prosecution Service Rule on Appeal “which are the DOJ’s bibles in the conduct of preliminary investigations.”

The court also held that the second panel which came up with findings that modified the resolution of the first panel “exceeded its authority” because this power was vested only in the justice secretary. The court therefore declared the second panel “null and void.”

Ferdinand Topacio, the lawyer of the Reyes brothers, noted that the ruling on his client was similar to the appellate court ruling that overturned the decision of a lower court finding Sen. Panfilo Lacson liable for the Dacer-Corbito double murder, thus quashing the arrest warrant against Lacson.

The legal implication of the appellate court ruling was that the arrest warrants against the Reyes brothers should be dissolved since the constitution of the panel that reinvestigated the case had been held invalid and, thus, all its actions should be invalidated as well, he said.

He said the Reyeses’ lawyers were studying whether to ask the Palawan court to quash the arrest warrants against their clients.


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Court of Appeals , Dr. Gerry Ortega , environmentalist , Joel Reyes , Leila de Lima , Murder




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Santiago accuses Lacson of fronting for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  2. Name names, Lacson told
  3. Santiago: Enrile, Lacson, Reyes plotting massive psywar operation
  4. Slain officer’s ‘diagram’ rocks PNP
  5. Kris Aquino’s ex- close in security named new Air Force chief
  6. Ex-COA chief nabbed for plunder
  7. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  8. Obama: US will defend Japan vs China
  9. Save the queen? Aide takes fall for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  10. HK apology: Why Estrada and not Aquino?
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  3. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  4. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  5. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  6. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  7. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  8. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  9. Reckless driver endangered lives of Aquino, entourage–report
  10. Lawyer: Napoles ‘will tell all’
  1. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  2. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  3. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  8. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  9. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  10. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
Advertisement

News

  • Obama due in Seoul as North Korea nuclear test fears grow
  • Hold departure order out vs Corona, Singson
  • Malaysia to release MH370 report–PM
  • Man found dead in Quezon City, alleged victim of summary execution–report
  • Aquino to lead Air Force turnover rites
  • Sports

  • Michael Phelps loses to Lochte in comeback meet
  • Sharapova advances to Stuttgart quarterfinals
  • Galedo caps ride of redemption
  • Beermen, Express dispute second semis slot today
  • Lady Agilas upset Lady Bulldogs in four sets
  • Lifestyle

  • ‘Recovered’ Banksy works on display ahead of sale
  • Marinduque: Visiting the ‘palm of the ocean’
  • First at Vatican in 60 years
  • How Jing Monis Salon gave Krissy the pixie
  • Want to be a supermodel? Work on your inner beauty, says Joey Espino
  • Entertainment

  • Paul McCartney to play at Candlestick concert
  • Kristoffer Martin: from thug to gay teen
  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Cris Villonco on play adapted from different medium
  • Business

  • PAL hailed for ban on shark fin cargo
  • BSP to change tint of P100 bill
  • Nielsen sees car buying boom in the Philippines
  • How author of best-seller exposed ‘one percent’ economic elite
  • Bangko Sentral readies new bank lending rules
  • Technology

  • Cloud strength helps Microsoft earnings top Street
  • Vatican announces hashtag for April 27 canonizations
  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • Opinion

  • Editorial Cartoon, April 25, 2014
  • No deal, Janet
  • Like making Al Capone a witness vs his gang
  • MERS-CoV and mothers
  • A graduation story
  • Global Nation

  • China welcomes PH apology
  • Only 4 Etihad passengers not accounted for
  • Abandoned in Malta,15 PH seamen return
  • Senator hopes PH will also get same vow
  • HK victims to get P115M; traders raised money
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement